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New to the Shoe for the Gun Lap

Opinion: The Villaraigosa Mayoralty has left Los Angeles so weakened that chances to fix things in the last leg of it, which starts today, are very slim. Blame Riordan too.

The venerable horseshoe of City Council Chamber changes slightly today, with Council elections and the seating of Councilman Mitch Englander, taking outgoing Councilman Grieg Smith's seat. Please see our profile of Councilman Englander from last year regarding what to expect.

But today also begins the gun lap of the exhausting Villaraigosa mayoralty, a mayoralty barely poised to mop up whatever has been spilled in the preceding six years.

The Villaraigosa mayoralty going into its final two years has witnessed and effectuated a spectacular erosion of Angeleno civic life. It has witnessed and effectuated deplorable unemployment, astonishing business flight, ever-declining public school enrollments, zero real population growth, a real estate bubble it only exacerbated by pretending the city was growing, and bizarre Republican policy tangos with former Mayor Richard Riordan. Not to mention fiascoes at every sporting venue in town from the Michael Jackson funeral at Staples to the horrifying collapse of Dodger Stadium to the usual Coliseum wars.

The Villaraigosa mayoralty must be linked to Riordan first and foremost, even though Riordan turned on the Mayor in 2005. Beyond personnel, the obsession with the LAUSD has evidenced this well enough. But throughout the Villaraigosa mayoralty, Riordan became an increasingly-doddering fool who tried (and to some degree succeeded) to engineer Villaraigosa's first term as Mayor, then turned tail yet presented the Mayor with the questionable commodity known as Austin Beutner in the second.

The consequences of the Villaraigosa mayoralty for the City has been troubling enough. But with two more years to go of Villaraigosa big dreams, Villaraigosa tinkerings with schools, energy-sucking Villaraigosa boondoggles at CRA and DWP, and perchance even more Villaraigosa gal pals, the consequences for the eastside of Los Angeles in particular may continue beyond 2013.

Villaraigosa would have been far wiser to draw from the Hahn mayoralty rather than from Riordan. With two years to go, and the Mayor continuing to jig to his own boombox, there isn't much left to do other than hope someone in the new horseshoe finds a fast forward button.